Lawrenceville, like Lilburn and Grayson and Snellville and all those other Gwinnett County municipalities, is in a black hole for our blog. Halfway from our house to Athens, I can’t quite get past the mental block that commands me to just drive on to Athens if I want to get some lunch, so the stars really need to line up right for me to visit a restaurant in these neighborhoods. Fortunately, I actually had lunchtime business – real live honest expense report for the mileage business – about six miles further up GA-316 one day a few weeks back, and so I could stop by Goad, a Texas-themed barbecue joint owned by a native of Abilene who’s brought his family’s style of cooking to this small suburban strip mall. His wife, Lisa Nutter Goad, had dropped me a line earlier in the year suggesting that I stop by. I love it when business owners reach out to us, even if the reality of our schedules means we don’t often get to visit.
Their restaurant is not laid out cafeteria / meat market style like some of this region’s other Texas-themed barbecue places, but with a simple ordering counter with most of the prep work done out of sight. Their daughter was working the register that day, and she explained that they like to cook over mesquite wood chips with a very simple “black and white” rub, just salt and pepper. I ordered the brisket at her recommendation along with the cowboy beans as a side. She suggested that, unlike sweet baked beans, these have a savory taste.
I was glad to sample the brisket after all the pork that I had tried in North Carolina the previous weekend. This was very good, smoky and exactly as fatty as it needed to be. I don’t know that either of the sauces – one thick and brown sweet and one South Carolina-style mustard – really complemented the beef very well, but good brisket like this doesn’t need sauce anyway. The mustard sauce was so darn good that I ate plenty of it on my toast.
There was some ridiculous program on the History Channel or the Learning Channel or the This is Really Sci-Fi But We’re Pretending That This is Reality Channel about lake monsters or something. I didn’t think to bring a book with me, so it was quite refreshing to have a TV on in a restaurant tuned to neither basketball highlights nor the loudmouths of faux news. As I learned about Bigfoot riding bareback on the Loch Ness Monster or whatever, three other parties came in, curious to try this place, and I watched the family’s daughter give them all the same attentive and awesome service, explanations, and recommendations.
The restaurant’s in a great location, just a short walk from GA-316 in an outparcel plaza in front of a larger Wal-Mart development. It’s on the wrong darn side of town to be convenient for us, but anybody in Gwinnett County should think about swinging by. They’re doing pretty solid work here, and a little more attention from local media wouldn’t go amiss.
Like barbecue? You can see all the barbecue restaurants that we have visited for our blog (more than 270!) on this map, with links back to the original blog posts. It’s terrific for anybody planning a barbecue road trip through the southeast!